The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) and national recycling campaign group Boomerang Alliance have released their five priority actions the next Commonwealth government needs to implement to solve Australia’s waste and recycling crisis.
According to both groups, what’s largely been seen by the industry is a lot of talk but not a lot of action, and this inaction is prohibitively expensive for the environment, business, local councils and the community.
“With Asian markets for recyclable materials from Australia closing down and local governments confronted with potentially sending their kerbside recycling to landfill, it’s time to recognise that the system Australians value is greatly under threat,” said Peter Shmigel, CEO of ACOR.
“The National Waste Policy (NWP), recently agreed upon with all states, tries to set out an agenda for the future, but its aims cannot be achieved without investment and policy support.
“At the same time, the world is facing a plastic pollution epidemic caused by plastic wastes that can’t be reused, composted or recycled. Australia must play its part in breaking that excessive plastic habit,” added Jeff Angel, Boomerang Alliance director.
“Without concerted and effective action, Australia is set to go back 50 years to the days when waste was dumped or burned, and the only things recycled were the bottles collected for a refund.”
The two organisations are calling on all political parties to support five key measures, which are:
- $150 million investment in a National Recycling Industry Development Fund along with clean energy funds to build a domestic recycling industry and create 500 new jobs and attack climate change.
- Tax incentives for a business and industry ‘Buy Recycled’ program to meet a 30 per cent average recycled content of products by 2025.
- Strengthen the Product Stewardship Act on imported packaging and to meet packaging targets of 70 per cent composted or recycled by 2025.
- Adopt a Plastic Pollution Reduction Strategy within six months of government to address escalating plastic waste problems in industry, agriculture and community sectors and in the terrestrial and marine environment.
- Develop new national data metrics on waste and litter to accurately record waste, litter and resource recovery statistics and recognise the broad social, environmental and economic benefits of resource recovery.